Limewash Pros and Cons: A Comprehensive Guide


If you’re looking for a way to give your home’s exterior or interior walls a unique, textured look, limewash might be your solution. Limewash is a paint made from natural materials, including lime, water, and natural pigments. It’s been used for centuries to whitewash and colour brick, masonry, plaster, wood and other surfaces.

One of the benefits of limewash is that it’s a natural and eco-friendly option for painting your home. It’s also hypoallergenic and can help regulate the temperature of your building. Limewash is also known for its ability to sink into the surface of the material it’s applied to, which can help prevent chipping or peeling. However, there are also some cons to consider, such as that limewash used externally can erode over time. It can also require a renewal coating every two to seven years, depending on the conditions.

This article will explore the pros and cons of using limewash on your home’s interior and exterior walls. We’ll discuss the different colours and textures available and how it compares to other types of paint. By the end of this article, you’ll better understand whether limewash is the right choice for your home.

What is Limewash?

If you’re looking for a natural way to add character and texture to your walls, limewash paint might be the answer. Limewash is a traditional paint made from natural materials like lime putty, water, and natural pigments. It is applied to the wall’s surface, where it penetrates the surface and creates a unique, textured, durable, and low-maintenance finish.

Limewash has been used for centuries in Europe and other parts of the world. It has recently become popular again as people look for more natural and sustainable ways to decorate their homes. It is a popular choice for those who want to create a rustic, aged look or add depth and character to their walls.

One of the benefits of limewash is that it is breathable, allowing moisture to pass through the walls and preventing damp buildup and mould. It is also eco-friendly, as it is made from natural materials and contains no harmful chemicals.

Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of using limewash on your home.

Related article: What is Limewash? An Overview of This Traditional Paint

Pros of Limewash

If you’re considering using limewash, it’s important to know the advantages and disadvantages of this type of paint. In this section, we’ll explore the pros of limewash, including its breathability, natural ingredients, and versatility.


One of the biggest advantages of limewash is its breathability. Unlike many conventional paints, limewash is breathable, allowing moisture to escape from your walls. This can help to prevent issues such as mould and mildew and can also help to regulate the temperature and humidity levels in your home. If you’re looking for paint that can improve the air quality in your home, limewash is an excellent choice.

Natural Ingredients

Another advantage of limewash is that it’s made from natural ingredients. Limewash is typically made from hydrated lime (fat lime or lime putty), an environmentally-friendly material. Limewash is a fantastic choice if you’re looking for paint free from harsh chemicals and synthetic additives.


Finally, limewash is a very versatile paint. It can be used on various surfaces, including brick, stone, concrete, and plaster. If a surface is porous, meaning it can absorb water, it can likely be limewashed successfully.

Limewash can also create a wide range of finishes, from a smooth, even finish to a more textured, uneven finish. If you’re looking for a versatile paint that can be used in various applications, limewash is a great choice.


Cons of Limewash

While limewash has its benefits, there are also some downsides to consider. Here are some of the potential cons of using limewash:

Weathering and Maintenance

One of the biggest cons of limewash is that it can erode over time, especially if exposed to harsh weather conditions. This means it may require more frequent maintenance than other paint or finishes. You may need to reapply external limewash every two to seven years to keep your walls looking their best.

As a little side note, in many cultures, giving all the buildings a fresh coat of limewash once a year was traditional. Because limewash has a high pH, this kept the buildings looking their best and sterilised and cleaned all of the surfaces! Handy eh!

Limited Colour Options

Another potential downside of limewash is that it may not offer as many colour options as other types of paint. While you can add pigments to create different shades, the final result may still be limited compared to other finishes.

However, many limewash suppliers can make bespoke colours. While this may cost more, you can try to match existing limewash or create your own unique colour.

Difficult to Control

Finally, the limewash can be difficult to control, especially if you’re not experienced in using it. The consistency of the mixture can vary depending on the type of lime used, the amount of water added, and other factors. This can make it challenging to achieve a consistent finish across all surfaces. If you’re not confident in applying limewash evenly, you may need to hire a professional to do the job.

While limewash paint has many benefits, it is important to consider the cons before using it in your home. The weathering and maintenance requirements, limited colour options, and difficulty of application are all factors you should consider when deciding whether limewash is the right choice for your project.

Related article: What Are The Best Paints For Lime Plaster?

Why Use Limewash?

If you’re looking for a unique and eco-friendly way to add character to your walls, limewash paint might be the perfect solution. Here are some of the reasons why you might want to consider using limewash:

  • Limewash creates a beautiful, matt effect that adds depth and texture to your walls. The natural, brush-applied limewash dries to create a weathered patina with subtle movement and natural colour variation that softens and streaks with age.
  • Because limewash is a primarily natural substance, it’s often viewed as a more environmentally friendly choice when compared to most varieties of oil-based paints that call on chemical-releasing plastic resins.
  • Limewash is also breathable, nontoxic, and eco-friendly, and the high pH level means it’s bacteria- and mould-resistant.

However, there are also some potential downsides to using limewash:

  • One of the main drawbacks of limewash is that it tends to erode over time if exposed to harsh conditions. This means it can sometimes need to be renewed externally every two to seven years.
  • Limewash is also not as durable as some other types of paint, which means that it may not be the best choice for high-traffic areas.
  • Finally, it’s worth noting that limewash can be a bit more difficult to apply than traditional pain. It may require a bit of practice to get the technique down.

Despite these potential drawbacks, many people find that the unique look and eco-friendly nature of limewash paint make it well worth considering for their home.

Grey limewash being painted onto a wall.


Limewash is a popular choice for those looking for a permanent treatment for their brick, plaster, stucco or even wood. It provides a rustic, natural look that is both beautiful and protective. Limewash is also a solvent-free option, making it a great choice for eco-friendly options.

However, it’s important to note that limewash does have its drawbacks. It can be difficult to apply and requires a certain skill level to achieve the desired look.

One of the biggest advantages of limewash is that it is a low-VOC option, which means it does not release harmful chemicals or fumes into the air. This makes it a great choice for those with respiratory issues or those who are environmentally conscious.

Overall, the pros and cons of limewash paint should be carefully considered before making a decision. If you’re looking for a natural, eco-friendly option that provides a beautiful, rustic look, limewash may be the perfect choice for you.